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social history

More Stories Behind Everyday Things

Discover the intriguing stories behind caviar, rubber, barbed wire, the electric chair and the color blue — among others!

Books

Bananas: an American history by Virginia Scott Jenkins — Before 1880, most Americans had never seen a banana, but by 1910 bananas were so common that the streets were littered with their peels.

Fascinating Stories Behind Everyday Things

You've probably heard the expression "Every picture tells a story." Well, it seems that even the most familiar objects have a story to tell. If you've ever wondered about the origins of your microwave, or why teacups have handles, or just where did those foam peanuts in your package came from, then this is the place for you!

Books

At home: a short history of private life by Bill Bryson — While walking through his own home, a former Church of England rectory built in the 19th century, the author reconstructs the fascinating history of the household, room by room. The bathroom provides the occasion for a history of hygiene; the bedroom, sex, death, and sleep; the kitchen, nutrition and the spice trade, and on and on.